2/26/2006 06:40:00 PM|W|P|JunkyJane|W|P|"Are you and Jesse doing heroin?" asked my mom.
She caught me so off-guard that I had no idea how to respond. I looked at her concerned face in the rear-view mirror. I looked to the passenger seat and saw my dad wearing a similar expression.
We were sitting in the parking lot of Bob Evans in the car that my parents had just bought for us. Our van, as much as we love her, just was not conducive to city driving, not to mention parking. So my parents were kind enough to purchase a nice little car for us with the understanding that we'd make payments to them each month. Jesse was at work and I had the day off, so I met them half-way at an outlet mall to make the exchange. I was expecting a nice friendly lunch with my folks, maybe a little shopping. Instead I was confronted with questions I was not ready to answer.
Do I tell the truth? Are they ready to hear that their only child has been injecting herself with a powerful, addictive, potentially lethal substance...the most notorious of all substances? I could tell the truth and disappoint them. I'd done it before and I would do it again. And again. And again.
Do I lie? These are the people who raised me and loved me and would continue to love and support me through all the stupid decisions to come. I could lie and fool them. I'd done it before and I would do it again. And again. And again.
Do I buy myself some time by not answering right away? Yes, door number 3.
I finally managed to blurt out, "Where did you hear that?"
"We got a phone call from a friend of yours who's very concerned about you," said my dad, "They said that you've been shooting heroin."
My mind began a list of the people I know, the people who know what I've been doing, and the people I know well enough that they would feel comfortable calling my parents. It was a fairly short list, which was good, because I had very little time to review it.
"Who?" I asked.
"It doesn't matter who, is it true?"
To lie or not to lie? I decided to split the difference.
"We've tried it." I said non-nonchalantly, wearing my best "no big deal" expression, "I didn't think it was as great as everybody says. We're not planning on doing it all the time or anything."
My dad sighed. My mom inhaled, and I knew that a barrage of questions was about to come pouring out. My mom is inquisitive, to put it lightly. She asks questions incessantly, sometimes not even pausing to listen to the answers.
"Why would you even try it? How many times have you done it? Do you realize how dangerous it is? Where did you get it? Who did you get it from? You actually stuck a needle in your arm? Are you addicted? How about Jesse? Do you need help?"
Every time my mother begins her interrogations I immediately get defensive. I turn into a 15 year old who came home an hour after curfew, cigarette smoke on her breath. She can't ground me anymore, but she still knows how to drive me crazy.
"No, mom! We don't need help. We tried it two or three times and we decided it wasn't worth it. You don't have anything to worry about. I don't know what people have been telling you, but they're wrong. We're fine!"
I wasn't completely full of shit. I've been trying to tell this story chronologically, but it's tough to recall things in order through the haze. When they first confronted me we had used heroin maybe ten times over the past two or three months, which is why I was even more confused about who had called them and told them we were filthy rotten junkies when we hadn't even come close to developing a habit. Sure, Jesse had been shooting speed like mad, but that's not what they asked me about, and I wasn't about to offer up that information. I asked them again who had called them to spread these lies, but they wouldn't tell me. The more I thought about it the more pissed-off I got. Whoever called them had obviously heard some rumor run wild and rather than confronting us they called my mom and made her cry.
I pacified them as best I could. I told them we were doing great, and that we were going to stay away from that nasty stuff, that they shouldn't worry about us. I think they believed me. I think they wanted to believe me. I did my best to make them believe me. There wasn't much else to say, so we went shopping. My mom was re-filling her soda in the food court when my dad leaned over his chinese food and spoke to me.
"So, how did it feel?" he asked.
My dad and I smoked pot together from the time I was seventeen until the time that I realized it made me way too paranoid and crazy. He's addicted to the natural high he gets through yoga and meditation. He's into spirituality and altered mind-states. Of course he was curious about the buzz.
I played it down a bit and told him it just sorta makes you numb and floaty. I told him it wasn't that great. That's probably the biggest lie I told that day. I didn't tell him about the instant rush that creeps up and fills your body and mind with instant serenity. I didn't tell him about the nod: the beautiful simple thoughts and visions that drip through your quiet mind. I didn't tell him about heroin's zen-like solitude and simple being. I didn't tell him how great it was. I just didn't tell him.
I drove the car back to the city and picked up Jesse from work. I didn't tell him about what had happened until after we did a shot. We were good and high, so it didn't matter so much.
If it hadn't been for the stupid rumors flying around about us (I'll get into all those later), if it hadn't been for our friend who was so damn concerned that he couldn't even talk to us about it, if they hadn't confronted me about it that day we would have been able to develop and successfully conceal our habit for a long time. I'm not sure if it would have changed anything, but it would have at least spared my parents some stress. It would have been a while before they began to worry. They could have been proud of me for a little while longer.
|W|P|114100326907843487|W|P|Pre-mature Confrontation|W|P|2/28/2006 11:17:00 AM|W|P|Partners In Crime section of links at my web site.
sickgirl2/24/2006 07:59:00 PM|W|P|JunkyJane|W|P|The Poppys played a grand total of 4 shows before StarChild met some chick and disappeared yet again. Short-lived dreams of butane lit encores and trashing hotel rooms on European tours went with him. I suppose the guys could have played without him, but it just wasn't the same. We settled back into our routine.
Each morning I'd put on my respectable member of society face and go to work. As I may have mentioned, I managed a used music and video store which bought and sold CD's, DVD's, VHS, and video games. It was mildly ironic that most of my regular sellers were also junkies. They would come in every day, their arms full of brand new DVD's and CD's and box-sets. Quality merchandise skillfully stolen from our local Target or Wal-mart or Best Buy, one of those stores that could afford and probably expected to be missing a few thousand items when inventory time came around. I developed an odd friendship with a couple of these regulars. They became such a fixture at our store that we may as well have put them on the payroll. I would begin to worry if they didn't show up for a few days. These guys would even take orders for things we wanted, although I encouraged my staff to do this on the sly. For example, I'd speak to whomever I was working with and say, "Hey, the new season of such-and-such comes out on Tuesday the 23rd. Gee, I'd sure love to have that!". The "wink, wink, nudge, nudge," was implied. Sure enough, when the 23rd rolled around they would bring it in for me.
Unfortunately not all of the regulars were so cool. A few were very demanding and sometimes downright scary. They were professional thieves and long-time addicts with plenty of jail-time under their belts. Our store was their only source of income and if we didn't give them what they wanted they'd get pissed.
But such problems were few and far between. We had an understanding. As long it wasn't obvious, such as six copies of Band of Brothers all at once, or a stack of DVD's still in the wrapper, we paid them and paid them well. It worked out for everyone. The company was happy because they were making money, the regulars were happy because they got their fix for the day, and my staff and I were happy because we got new releases for dirt-cheap.
Each day I would deal with people who were clueless about my double-life. Some of the regulars even had the same connections as me. Every time I went on a run I prayed that I wouldn't run into anyone who knows me from work. One day we went to Rick's to score some tar and a girl was there who had sold things to our store a few times. It was awkward when she recognized me, but at least it wasn't one of those guys who came in each day and knew me by name. Her name was Molly and she became a bigger part of the story later on.
Jesse and I once promised each other that we would not shoot up when we were alone. We broke this promise countless times. I would go to work in the morning and Jesse would go score for us. Regardless of how much he did while I was gone he would always try to save me some. I would come home and we'd get high together. He would go to work at the bar in the evening. Regardless of how much I did while he was gone I would always try to save him some. This was our routine, and for a while it worked. Then one morning I did a shot before work. Then Rick lost his job and his tiny smelly room. Then our routine began to change... |W|P|114083274186090841|W|P|Pandora's Box-Set|W|P|2/25/2006 06:56:00 AM|W|P|
Libby2/27/2006 09:52:00 AM|W|P|
Peace, love and happiness,
sickgirl2/22/2006 08:17:00 PM|W|P|JunkyJane|W|P|You hold in your hand three colorful little balloons. Red, green, blue...they look vaguely like skittles, but what's inside is not a juicy burst of fruit flavor. Tear it open with your teeth and you'll find a little ball of tin foil. Inside the foil is a bit of plastic. Inside the plastic is the prize.
The balloons come courtesy of the Mexicans. $20 a piece, three for $50, six for $100. The Mexicans are professionals. They have a system. They have business hours. They have dispatchers and drivers and designated meeting points. Just call them between 9am and 7pm and find out where to meet them. Drive to the spot but be prepared to wait because either these guys are extremely busy or 10 minutes in Spanish translates to at least half an hour, even longer if you're sick. You sit and you wait and you watch in the rearview mirror and you pray each time you see a car that is a similar color or make or model. You call them again and they say "Any minute, any minute!" You sit and wait. You shift in your seat and fiddle with the radio, always keeping one eye on the mirror. You sit and wait because you have no other choice. You sit and wait.
Finally they show up. You throw the car in gear and follow them around corners, up alleys, down one-way streets, wherever they feel like taking you. You see them brake and pull over and you pull up behind them, but not too close. Your friend in the passenger seat jumps out and gets in the back of their car. They begin driving again and you follow, but not too close. You drive up residential streets where happy sober people are walking their dogs and drunk college kids are playing frisbee. You pass business-men driving shiny cars on their way home from the office. You don't notice these things, since you only have one thing on your mind. Get the shit, get home, get high. They pull over again and your friend jumps out and gets back in your car. They drive away. You drive away. You drive the speed limit, use your turn signal, come to a complete stop at each and every stop sign. It takes 12 years to get to your house which is only 6 blocks away.
You get home. You fix up. You get high. You relax. You try not to think about having to do this again tomorrow...or even later today. You lean back and close your eyes and let it take you away. It all goes away. You think of nothing.
Jesse and I had many opportunities to be directly hooked up with the Mexicans. We made a conscious decision early-on that we would always have a middle-man. We figured that this would keep our habit in check and keep us safe...or at least not as directly in danger. We would call up one of our junky friends and ask if they wanted to go on a run. Of course they almost always did. They would call up the boy and we'd drive to the spot and go through the whole routine. When we got home we'd break them off about half a bag and everyone was satisfied.
Looking back it would have made life a lot easier if we would have had the direct connection. It would have saved us so much time and money and stress...and dope of course. There were many days when the sickness was coming on and we couldn't get ahold of anyone. It's not always easy to track down a junky. They tend to not stay in one place too long, and phones seem to be out of service just when you need them most. As time went by and our habits got worse, we ended up letting people crash at our place just so we had a run guaranteed each day. It was worth it to us to let some smelly hopeless junky sleep on our couch, to risk the possibility of getting our stuff stolen or worse, just so we knew we'd be able to score each day. Because by that time going a day without dope was not an option.|W|P|114066726718112782|W|P|Make a Run for the Border (about the Mexicans)|W|P|2/21/2006 10:28:00 PM|W|P|JunkyJane|W|P|One evening Jesse and I were having a nice little nap. We woke when we heard Starchild come home. We rubbed the fog from our eyes and decided to watch a movie. As we passed the bathroom on our way down the stairs we noticed the light was on.
"Watch, he's probably OD'ed in our bathroom," Jesse joked. Haha...right?
A few minutes went by as we perused our DVD collection, which at that time was still relatively large, as our habit was still relatively small and we had yet to resort to selling all our worldly possesions. I had the strange feeling that something wasn't quite right. Call it women's intuition or maybe some sort of Junky ESP. I told Jesse that maybe he should go check on Star.
"Oh FUCK!" I heard from upstairs. I ran up the steps and found Jesse slapping a lifeless Star. He was on the toilet with his pants around his ankles and his face was in the corner between the sink and the wall. "oh fuck..." I agreed.
Jesse was smacking him and yelling his name over and over as I stood in the doorway trying to think of how to proceed. I surveyed the room. Star was slumped and drooling...barely breathing, Jesse stood over him trying to hold him up. A rig sat on the counter next to a C-fold made out of a lottery ticket, the powder we got from this chick named Dreama. I was desperately trying to grasp my only frame of reference to a situation like this...movies and TV shows and books I've read.
"What do we do?" asks Jesse, looking at me with pleading eyes I had never seen before.
"Throw him in the shower!" I said...it seemed like the best idea, the only idea I could come up with.
Mind you, Star was a skinny-ass junky/tweaker who couldn't have weighed more than 130 lbs. and Jesse is my big strong man, but he had a hell of a time getting that kid into our shower. Dead-weight is a more accurate phrase than we ever realized. So we got him into the shower and turned the water on full blast. We got a slight reaction from him as the water hit him, his eyes were half open and glazed over. Jesse was still smacking the shit out of him and we were both yelling at him, "Wake UP you motherfucker! You're not dying in our FUCKING BATHROOM! Open your eyes! Wake the FUCK UP!" His head was lolling around on his scrawny neck as we shook him and he was moaning slightly, but that's the most we could get out of him.
Jesse looked over at me, "I don't know what else to do!"
I was scared shitless, but I was not ready to give up. I would have called an ambulance if it came down to it, but who knows if we would have been able to get all the contraband out of our house before the cops showed up and started asking questions. I was not ready to give up. No, I was going to snap him out of it, whatever it took. I'm generally a very laid-back and quiet gal, but something pissed off and primal came over me as I looked at the lifeless, half-naked, sopping wet loser in my tiny bathroom. I was not ready to give up.
"WAKE UP! Open your eyes you ASSHOLE and keep them open! WE'RE GOING TO DO THE REST OF YOUR BAG!" Jesse had him by the scruff of his neck and was holding him up under the freezing cold water. I smacked him with all my might and shook him and smacked him again. Then I shook him and smacked him and shook him again. I saw his eyes flutter and his mouth making shapes that were trying to be words. I put my face right up to his so we were nose to nose and I screamed in his ear, "KEEP YOUR FUCKING EYES OPEN! STAY AWAKE! You are NOT allowed to DIE in my TUB!" I saw a bit of life creep back into him. He began to move around and he was attempting to mumble apologies. We stood him up in the tub. His pants were still around his ankles and his shirt was soaking wet. "STAND UP NOW! PULL your FUCKing pants UP! We don't want to see your DICK!" We helped him get his pants back on as he swayed and shivered in the bathtub, still unable to stand on his own. But he was finally coming out of it. We got him a towel and picked up his legs one at a time to get him out of the tub. I turned off the water. Jesse and I helped him into his room and onto the futon, where he sat wrapped in a towel with his head down and his hair dripping.
"I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry guys, I love you guys, I'm so sorry" he was mumbling.
"How much did you do?" asked Jesse.
"Only half a bag! I don't know what the fuck happened! I'm so sorry. Thank you guys so much, I'm so sorry..."
As Jesse got him some dry clothes and helped him get dressed I went into the bathroom and grabbed his bag from the counter. He was right, it was only half gone. I didn't hesitate...I went into our bedroom, into our drawer, into our kit. I figured that if he fell out on half a bag then if Jesse and I split the other half we should get pretty fucked up. So we did.
As StarChild sat a room away, sobbing and apologizing and coming slowly back to life, Jesse and I got high.
Then we went for Chinese food.|W|P|114058556275084888|W|P|Bathroom Fall Out|W|P|2/19/2006 01:20:00 AM|W|P|JunkyJane|W|P|So StarChild was back, and as always he brought with him all sorts of grand plans, and not much else. Say what you want about Star (and I've said plenty), things always seem to be more exciting when he's around. Heroin tends to make people reclusive, but he was always meeting people and bringing them over or encouraging us to go out and do things. This time he brought John and Big Fish and the four of them started jamming in our living room. The Poppys were born. They figured the name was a decent reference that our moms wouldn't get. If I had a band I'd name it Armand's Frozen Peas...but very few people would get that reference.
Anyway, within 2 weeks they had a gig at the local hole-in-the-ground punk bar. The drummer had only played with them 2 times and Jesse and Star had been up for 6 days the first night they played. But aside from some microphone issues they sounded damn good, and Star was the perfect front man even if you couldn't understand what he was singing. His antics more than made up for it.
Looking back, that was the last time things were really good. Not to say that there weren't bad moments then...not to say that I haven't had good moments since. But sometimes there are just times in your life that shine through the clouds that have gathered. The calm before the storm.|W|P|114033179182331513|W|P|I'm With the Band|W|P|2/21/2006 02:32:00 PM|W|P|
sickgirl2/18/2006 07:56:00 PM|W|P|JunkyJane|W|P|I should have stopped there. I should have walked away from the shit when I had the chance. Things sure would be different now. But I can't change my past and the decisions I have made. I can only try to learn from them...but I don't. I keep repeating them over and over with different people in different circumstances.
But this is now and that was then and I have a lot more of my story to tell...
Heroin snuck back into my life on a chilly day in January. Well, it didn't exactly sneak in, since I had been bugging Jesse about it for weeks. It always struck me as strange that I was the one who fell in love with dope since he was the one who always had this sort of romantic curiosity about the whole lifestyle. I mean we both loved the music and the films and the literature and poetry that came out of the counter-culture. We both listened to Jimi and Janis and Kurt...Alice in Chains and the Velvet Underground. We both watched Drugstore Cowboy and Trainspotting. We both read William S. Burroughs and Jim Carroll. But it was Jesse who had journals filled with poems and song lyrics about heroin. It was Jesse who dressed up like a Dead Vietnam Vet Junky for Halloween the year we met (our friend made a rig out of a tampon tube and a nail and taped it to his arm). All this was before we even tried it. I'm not blaming the music or the movies for our actions. In fact if anything, it should have made us not want to try it. Shit, Requiem for a Dream is one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen. But Jesse is an artist and a musician and he found that with speed he could be creative for days and days at a time. He felt like when he did speed he had something to show for it afterward. I'm also a creative person somewhere deep down, but I've become so numb that nothing motivates me anymore. Writing this is the most creative thing I've done in the last year. But doing dope makes it acceptable to do nothing...it makes me content with being a fucking bum.
But I'm getting really off track here. I was talking about when we started using again after our short hiatus. One day Jesse stopped by Rick's house and they went on a run to see the Mexicans. For the next few months we would call or stop by Rick's tiny, filthy, smelly-ass room a few times a week. The Mexicans were delivering to his place, which was good because we didn't have to meet them out on some suburban street somewhere, but bad because Rick's room was so disgusting. His room smelled so foul that sometimes we would have to go outside or on the steps of the apartment to wait for our dope to show up. At the time I didn't know what that sour smell was, but now I know that it's dope-sweat...the nastiest smell in the whole world. The smell of the sickness which we would come to know very well before too long.
Anyway, our tolerance was still not very high and we would look on in astonishment as Rick stuck a whole bag in his spoon and filled his rig with a shot that was almost black it was so damn dark. Jesse and I could still split half a bag and nod out for a few hours. We probably spent between 50 and 100 bucks a week on heroin...and whatever Jesse was spending on speed, and we both had jobs, so we were doing OK.
Rick was also doing fairly well at this point. He had a job cooking at a bar downtown and sometimes we would go pick him up from work to go on a run and drop him back off after we scored. Sure enough, before too long he lost his job and his room, and then he became a more permanent fixture in our lives. But more about that later.
All of a sudden StarChild showed up again...back from Cali with no place to stay (of course). He moved into our spare bedroom. He's a good guy...sure he has plenty of problems like the rest of us, but he was always entertaining and fun to be around. He was both a good and bad influence on Jesse. Bad because he did just as many drugs if not more...but good because they had amazing musical chemistry. StarChild had been practicing the songs that he and Jesse had been writing last summer with another guitarist and a bass player. They put a band together and got themselves a gig almost right away. It just seemed appropriate to start a band since we'd been partying like rock stars all this time...|W|P|114031557868835539|W|P|What Happened Next|W|P|2/17/2006 12:21:00 PM|W|P|JunkyJane|W|P|Life was good. I was content. I went to work each day and I enjoyed my job. I knew what I was doing and I was good at it. I got a raise...I got bonuses each month. I was one of the best managers in the company. Every once in a while my boyfriend Jesse would have a surprise for me when I got home. Instant relaxation after a long day. As it entered my bloodstream I felt the warmth spread over my shoulders and down my arms. All pain and anxiety would melt away. My eyes would fall closed and beautiful simple visions would float around in the void of my mind. It was so easy to just be. In a way it was very zen.
By this time Jesse had already developed a habit, but his drug of choice was quite the opposite of mine. He and StarChild would do their meth and stay up for days jamming and writing and creating. On rare occaisions I would join them, but generally I preferred my elevator to go down instead of up. Since he was doing so much speed he did not want to feel like a hypocrite by telling me I couldn't have my high. And of course he couldn't let me do it by myself. We both knew that it was important to practice moderation, but neither of us were very good at it. We knew that we needed to manage our respective habits before they began to manage us. We spoke of it often, "We need to stop now before it's too late...before we need this shit instead of just wanting it...before it becomes who we are and not just what we do."
In retrospect we were still in damn good shape. We still had some money in the bank. We still went to work. We still took care of our responsibilites. We knew a problem was brewing, but we still had it under control. Our tolerence was building, but it was nothing compared to what it became later. We could make a 20 bag of tar last two days between the two of us (and this is considering the fact that we had to break off the people who hooked us up with the Mexi's...more about them later), and we could split a 20 of powder between three of us and still get high as shit. Man, those were the days!
One day I got home from work and there was a rig filled from the night before. Jesse wanted to play me a new song he'd been working on. I did my shot, leaned back on the couch and closed my eyes. I heard him playing...
All of a sudden from way back in a fuzzy darkness I heard him yelling my name. He sounded scared. He sounded desperate. He was shaking me and throwing water on me. Slowly, and with a lot of effort I opened my eyes. He was standing over me and he looked terrified. As I began to come out of it Jesse told me what happened. He was playing his guitar with his eyes closed. As he got to the chorus (which ironically enough was "You got so high/When you did it for the first time/You never learned how to fly/But you thought you'd give it one more try/You got so high/But now you're losing altitude") he looked over at me. He immediately knew that something was wrong. I was very pasty...almost bluish. It looked like I was trying to breathe, but I wasn't able to. He said my jaw was locked and he had to pry it open to give me mouth-to-mouth. He was panicking and yelling my name. He didn't know what else to do. He went to the kitchen and got a large glass of water which he threw on me. He shook me, he said my name over and over. From somewhere in the dark recesses I heard him and with much effort I managed to open my eyes. I was dazed and I had no idea what happened. He gave me some water to drink and slowly I began to breathe normally and regain my senses. He saved my life. I was lucky.
After that we decided to stop using heroin. Luckily we still had a small enough habit that we didn't have to go through the misery of kicking. We deleted all our dope numbers from our phones and stayed away from it for about three months...the longest we have ever abstained. However, Jesse was still shooting speed every day and staying up for weeks at a time. Sometimes I did it too, just to have some sort of high...just to kill the boredom and the cravings for dope...just to be able to spend time with him in his world. But speed (as well as any other upper) makes me especially miserable because I loathe not being able to sleep. Each time I did it I just wanted some heroin so I could come down. I began to get extremely depressed, whic h made me crave that buzz even more.
So after three months or so we picked up again. That is when things really got started...
|W|P|114020206741762516|W|P|The Chipper Phase|W|P|2/16/2006 07:49:00 PM|W|P|JunkyJane|W|P|Welcome to my life, or what's left of it. One year ago everything looked fine on the surface. My boyfriend and I had a nice 2 bedroom townhouse in the city. I had a great job managing a used record store. We paid our bills. We had a car. We had a cat. We had a credit card. We were in love. We got engaged. Our parents were proud and clueless. We had a secret. We had a habit.
It began innocently enough. I've always liked to try new things, and new things always seemed to find me. I'd been a casual drug user for 13 years and the only things that ever hooked me were coffee and cigarettes. I didn't consider myself a person with an addictive personality. I took a certain amount of pride in my self-control.
So when the boy came knocking I didn't hesitate to answer. Before he stuck me, StarChild gave the lecture which he gives to all junk virgins, "Once in a while is cool...be careful...do not get a habit...etc." I wasn't afraid. The needle didn't even scare me. It was quick and painless.
Immediately I realized what I had been looking for in all those years of experimentation. This was it. Instant bliss. This was too good, and I knew it. I knew I had to exercise that so-called self-control. And for a while I did. For a while it was beautiful.
TO BE CONTINUED...
|W|P|114014512381429367|W|P|Start at the Beginning|W|P|2/18/2006 04:29:00 AM|W|P|hjqw77|W|P|Wow Jane, I'm impressed, just bookmarked your blog, It's a very interesting blog.
/Vladimir |W|P|I look forward to reading the rest of your journey. |W|P|I am reading. Keep up the good writing. |W|P|Hi. I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog. I found your link on seedless's. Your writing is great. |W|P|As I have commented before, I have been reading and enjoying. Hope you don't mind but I added you as a link in my